Rainbow Grasshopper
Dactylotum variegatum
Photo General Exterminating, Inc.

There are more than 700 species of grasshoppers in the United States. Adult female grasshoppers lay eggs in the soil which hatch in the spring and mature through the summer.

Normally grasshoppers are not a problem in gardens and landscapes. Many birds, including quail, are dependent on them as an important food supply and tend to keep populations down most years. Occasionally, after a particularly wet spring, populations may build up and begin defoliating everything in site.

Damage is usually limited to a few weeks in early summer immediately after range weeds dry up. Capture and removal is easiest in the cool morning when they are slower. Floating row covers and other protective covers are probably the best strategy in a small garden with a serious grass hopper problem.

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